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UPDATED: 09:04, November 28, 2006
Cyprus attributes Turkey-EU talks failure to Ankara's lack of good will
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Cypriot Foreign Minister George Lillikas implied on Monday that the last-ditch talks between the European Union (EU) and Turkey over Cyprus failed because of Ankara's lack of good will, reported Cyprus News Agency.

"Unfortunately, despite our good will and the good-will efforts of the Finnish (EU) presidency, it was not possible to reach an agreement because, as every agreement, it requires the good will of all involved parties," Lillikas was quoted as saying.

Lillikas made the remarks in the southern Finnish town of Tampere, where he met Monday morning with his Finnish counterpart Erkki Tuomioja who held separate talks with Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, on the sideline of an EU-Mediterranean conference.

Tuomioja, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, said on Monday that his talks with Turkey and Cyprus over an EU customs accord had collapsed and the Finland would immediately begin discussions with the EU Commission on whether to suspend Turkey's EU accession negotiations.

Finland has held intensive consultations with all parties with an objective to find a solution that would enable the uninterrupted continuation of Turkey's accession process and improve the situation of both Greek and Turkish communities in Cyprus.

EU foreign ministers are expected to take a decision on their next step towards Turkey when they meet on Dec. 11.

Under a customs union agreement with the EU, Turkey is obliged to open its ports and airports to Cyprus. But Turkey refuses to do so until the 25-nation bloc keeps its promise to ease the international isolation of the Turkish Cypriot north.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey militarily intervened and occupied the north of Cyprus following a coup on the island by a group of Greek officers.

The internationally-recognized Republic of Cyprus entered the EU in 2004 in the name of the whole island.

Source: Xinhua

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